The Retreat Centre is situated in Zoopigi, a small village in the foothills of the Troödos mountains, approximately 24km north of Limassol. At almost 900 metres above sea level, Zoopigi is known for its fresh mountain spring water and a comfortable summer climate, providing a refreshing escape from the sweltering heat and humidity of the city.
Our spacious Retreat Centre, with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside is set near a forest, a children’s play area, and a small village store.
The Retreat Centre includes a fully equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, dining area, 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms each with toilet and shower. In addition, there is a shower area near the outdoor pool. Children will share the bedroom and bathroom facilities with their peers (separated by gender).
Meals at The Retreat Centre are healthy and nourishing and rich in local produce. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served either in the dining area or outdoors. Our healthy, balanced and varied diet plan includes fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. There will be a snack with fruits in the afternoon and sweets, including homemade Cypriot specialties like yogurt with honey and rice pudding, are offered in moderation.
On our last day we make “souvlakia” outdoors with the children. We also cater to special dietary requirements – please inform us when you are making your reservation.
What we offer
- The camp will be run by caring teachers, with several years teaching experience, who will provide stimulating, educational and fun activities for your children.
- All caregivers are fluent in English and, for children with English as a second language, the camp will offer a relaxed and fun environment in which to practice and build confidence in spoken English. A teacher qualified in teaching English as a second language will provide extra, learning for those who want to join our English Language Club.
- Small groups, with a high caregiver to child ratio (1-5) will mean that attention can be paid to the individual emotional and physical needs of each child. We provide comfortable accommodation in shared rooms (bedding is included).
- Everyday use of an onsite swimming pool.
Impact of outdoor play and nature on children
There is growing research evidence showing the physical, mental and cognitive benefits that connecting with nature can have on our children. While playing outside, the child’s senses are stimulated and their imagination expands. Exploring nature, constructing forts and building obstacle courses out of natural materials are activities that help children learn to navigate their environment. They increase confidence and independence, develop motor skills and promote a sense of accomplishment. In addition, such outdoor physical activities have the added benefit of building muscles and helping children to sleep well at night.
- Introduce children to a whole new outdoor world, where they connect with nature and better understand their environment. A world apart from their everyday lives.
- Create unforgettable positive memories that will inspire them to lead healthy active lifestyles.
- Create positive mental attitude through connection with nature and also through engaging each child on a personal level in group activities that will create confidence and balance each child’s psychological needs.
- improve each child’s level of spoken English and learn the specific idioms of the language from native speaking teachers through songs and playing games.
- Children take part in fun outdoor sports activities and enjoy learning new skills.
- Share new experiences and create unforgettable memories that develop character and team spirit.
- The ultimate aim is for children to spend much needed time outdoors, experiencing nature with their peers. Electronic usage will be controlled and WiFi is not available in most areas of The Retreat Centre. Time outdoors away from technology will give children the opportunity to slow down and observe their surroundings with a new appreciation.
- Hiking in the local forest (with picnic) including nature study (flora and fauna)
- Swimming (our own pool)
- Team sports activities (volleyball, badminton)
- Team building exercises
- Child-friendly Yoga and Mindfulness practices (interwoven throughout the day/evening)
- Music and Dance workshops
- Scavenger hunt in nature where children will learn about their environment and conservation
- Arts and Crafts
- Photo/video contest
- Presentations (environment, flora/ fauna)
- Evening campfire with storytelling and singing
- Evening walk with observation of star constellations
- Movie Night
- Weekly excursion options include; Donkey Farm/Troodos Geopark/St. John`s swimming pool
The above is not an exhaustive list of activities and may change due to the age of the group and the group dynamics.
There will be one excursion per week and this will be decided by the organisers and the children on the camp.
About the Organisers
Kristin Rusch is a Registered Clinical Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has special training in working with children with special needs. Over the years she has seen how children’s behaviour is negatively impacted through lack of access to outdoor space along with the increase in time spent using electronic gadgets. The pandemic has further increased this awareness of children’s need to connect with nature. In helping to organise camps at The Retreat Centre, Kristin is motivated to give children the chance to get out in nature, to play in the forest, to see the stars. Her aim is for children to learn about their natural surroundings and at the same time improve their social skills and make new friends.
Peter Petrou is the owner of the Retreat Centre in Zoopigi and the Vedanta Yoga Centre in Limassol. A qualified yoga instructor, he also teaches mindfulness and meditation. Peter has several years experience teaching kids yoga and, in previous years, has organised and facilitated summer kids camps at the Vedanta Yoga Centre. In his own words “ I want to create unforgettable memories for the children on these camps. My best childhood memories were when I went on camps with my friends and when I look back they were always outdoors in nature.”
Lydia Antoniou has over ten years’ experience working with children and has specialised in teaching English as a foreign language. Her passion for teaching was first sparked when venturing to India through voluntary work with young children. She has since taught all age groups in Cyprus and worked for the British in Jordan where she gained lots of training on how to teach in a way that makes learning fun for kids. In her free time, Lydia loves hiking, camping, reading, yoga and capoeira.
The price for 6 days, all meals and bedding included is €500 (including excursion). A 50% deposit is required to hold the reservation. Due to the uncertainty with the Covid situation the deposit will be fully refundable in the event of forced cancellation.
6 weeks from 20th June to 30th of July
Week 1: Sun 20th June – Fri 25th June
Week 2: Sun 27th June – Fri 2nd July
Week 3: Sun 04th July – Fri 09th July
Week 4: Sun 11th July – Fri 16th July
Week 5: Sun 18th July – Fri 23rd July
Week 6: Sun 25th July – Fri 30th July
Drop off: Sunday 10:00-11:00
Pick up: Friday 16:00-17:00
|07:00 – 08:15||Morning wake-up/ Morning stretching/yoga|
|08:15 – 09:00||Breakfast & Group Time|
|09:00 – 13:00||Activities and Morning Snack|
|13:00 – 14:00||Lunch & Personal Hygiene|
|14:00 – 16:00||Pool Time and Afternoon Snack|
|16:00 – 18:00||Afternoon activity|
|18:00 – 19:00||Dinner|
|19:00 – 20:30||CampFire Time / Evening Activities|
|20:30 – 21:00||Bed time|
The above timetable will be followed wherever possible and will provide the framework of the camp schedule. However it will be up to the discretion of the organisers to change the timing of the activities depending on the needs of any given situation. The schedule will change on the day of the excursion.
What to bring
- Two towels (one bath, one pool)
- House shoes/flip flops
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste)
- Insect Repellent
- Small amount of pocket money for local store treats (optional)